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Clip+ vs. other solutions for pc to receiver

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've been combing the forums for a few days trying to figure out my best solution. I think I've got a decent one maybe, but I'm looking for any input from the knowledgeable persons that inhabit these forums because I'm fairly newbish when it comes to audio. :)

 

I'll start by describing my situation.

 

Source material: mostly classical and jazz, with some eclectic indie rock with most files being Lame V2/192 vbr files(I found that I can't really tell a difference with anything higher especially with my equipment, hopefully that doesn't come back to burn me in the future if my ears mature)

 

Equipment Setup: Currently I have my laptop's built-in sound going to my receiver, (via mini to stereo rca cable from monoprice), which is an onkyo tx-8522 2-channel going to old B&W bookshelf speakers and an old yamaha sub.

 

I'm also fairly set on ordering the AD700's for night time listening and because I think they will be an improvement over the B&W speakers and my crappy plantronics 777 headphones which weren't really meant for music.

 

I am unsatisfied with the quality of this connection vs. my cd player to stereo, but I do not own a large amount of albums on cd, my library is mostly digital and therefore I'm looking for a better quality connection to my low-end receiver.  I mostly notice the lack of detail in complex sections, everything just sounds mixed together and the highs and lows just don't sound right.  I also dislike the random noise that gets introduced, especially when I'm using the computer and listening to music.

 

My thinking is it is just mostly the source connection rather than any other link of the chain, so I want to get something like the Clip+ and hook it directly to the receiver.  I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, so I'm trying to take the path that will get me the most bang for my buck.

 

Will I see a decent improvement in sound quality with the Clip+ to stereo connection?  And will using the Headphone jack on my stereo bring out more in the AD700's vs plugging into an mp3 player(I couldn't find an output rating for the onkyo jack anywhere)?  Or would getting a dedicated headphone amp be worth it?

 

My thinking is that a $50 mp3 player and the $87 headphones will improve my sound quality a lot more than anything else I could put my money into, plus I'll have an mp3 player besides the one on my phone.  I know my receiver's Headphone jack isn't as good as a dedicated amp, but is it maybe ~75% as good compared to just from the mp3 player? And getting an external sound card and DAC would probably be great as well, but again I think the mp3 player might be ~75% as good and for way less cost.

 

I know I'm not much of an audiophile, I just enjoy music.  I'd like to have as near to the cd quality sound I currently have, but with the ease of a digital library.  I could probably go through and burn my whole library to cd's and that would work, but that's just a huge PITA!

 

Anyways, does anyone see any holes in my thought process or have I left out any other solutions that might work? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

 

-Jeff

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

kind of a long post i realize, but anyone have any input? is a clip+ hooked to a stereo with a headphone jack better than straight from the clip+ and/or better than a laptop built-in sound card straight to the stereo?

 

As in, is it good enough to notice, or should i spend my money on something else?

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooner112 View Post

kind of a long post i realize, but anyone have any input? is a clip+ hooked to a stereo with a headphone jack better than straight from the clip+ and/or better than a laptop built-in sound card straight to the stereo?

 

As in, is it good enough to notice, or should i spend my money on something else?


I read both posts. This is just my guess but I don't think that you'd notice much difference using a Clip vs. the laptop headphone output into the receiver.

 

Budget seems to be a big concern here. Personally, I would buy an entry-level USB DAC and send that analog signal to the receiver. I looked at your Onkyo model which is discontinued but was a $300 +/- model. The Headphone output on most modern receivers aren't much different than many portable players (DAP) aside from having more power.

 

My top budget minded choice for laptop as source would be to use a portable amp which has a built-in USB DAC. These start around $150 such as the HeadRoom Total BitHead. I've used several different portable DAC/amp models and every one of them sounded better than any DAP that I've owned.


Edited by GreatDane - 8/21/10 at 4:51am
post #4 of 6

Clip's output power is very poor.  If you connect it to home stereo, you will find the sound is powerless and thin.

post #5 of 6

Hmm go for a nuForce uDAC or some other cheap USB DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) :)

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies everyone!

 

After looking it over, I think an external DAC would probably be the best route as you have recommended.  I also remembered I have some spare pc parts laying around, and I might attempt to build an htpc of sorts.  I think the one motherboard has a coax output for audio.  I would think that it'd be a huge improvement over the laptop's headphone output or does it really depend on the built-in sound card's overall quality?

 

EDIT: I was able to get a pc running that has a coax output built into the mobo, so I'm either going to try to buy/build a dac with a digital input or just go with a squeezebox touch.  I'm also leaning toward the mini cubed diy amp from AMB labs.  It seems like a great deal especially since I don't need portability. 

 

I'm also considering trying to find higher end cans than the ad700's used after reading some reviews on how they don't fit comfortably on a smaller head like mine.  Possibly some Senn 595's or 580's.  Or the 555's new if I have to.

 

*Thread can be closed, or I can report back with a review in a while after I get everything sorted.


Edited by mooner112 - 8/23/10 at 10:41pm
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